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Thread: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26

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    Default Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    Thread starter. I'll hopefully have some pictures later.

    The crew today was Taylor, Gerald, Shane, and Trent. Everyone arrived early and we were on the road at 9:15 sharp. The Starbucks and Taco Bell in Downieville are both closed (temporarily?) during the pandemic.

    Red Elephant Hill is very soft and muddy due to the recent rains. The challenging sections of the trail were quite challenging today, and it took us about 2.5 hours to run Red Elephant from bottom to the intersection of the Empire Loop. Shane was happy to have an excuse to use his winch as he pulled himself over some very large boulders after a few unsuccessful attempts. The winch later came in handy when he pulled my sideways Jeep back onto the trail as the mud and rocks caused me to slide into a very precarious position on the edge of the trail.

    The Empire Loop trail offered more slow progress, though considerably faster than the trip up Red Elephant. We stopped at the Empire Hilton for lunch around 12:45 as the afternoon rain started. We would have rain the rest of the day. We began to see many more trail users after lunch and briefly picked up two lost Jeeps who could not find the turn off for Bill Moore Lake. Confusingly, they asked me if they were on Switzerland Trail. I wasn't quite prepared for that question, given they were probably 45 miles from that trail, so I told them they were on the Empire Loop and came to understand they were looking for the lake. Neither of these Jeeps had full tops or door uppers, and they bailed due to rain and fatigue as we approached the turn off for the lake.

    We turned onto the Bill Moore Lake trail and ascended as the clouds fell. Upon reaching the lake, the clouds were a few hundred feet over our heads and we could not see the tops of the peaks surrounding the lake. A moderate rain fell, but we enjoyed some time at the lake nonetheless. We all posed on the big rock for the requisite pictures (to follow later!), then returned to the Empire side of the trail to air up and return home. I think it was almost 5pm when we left the staging area at the end of the day, yet we only covered about 16 miles of trail.

    Red Elephant Hill was remarkably fun with the mud and rain. The guides I've read warn that the trail can be quite difficult when wet. It did not disappoint. I suspect the trail was greatly improved today by the weather.

    Had a great time on the trail with everyone.

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    Super fun day. I think this photo sums it up best.
         

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    Gerald drove sweep today, waiting until the rest of us had struggled to get over a rock to show us how easy it really was.
         

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    Taylor roosting his way up with Trent spotting.
         

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    The lake looked pretty cool with the fog settled over it.
         

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26












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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    After Trent worked his Jeep up this section his kids wanted out of the Jeep. Strangely, after watching how he drove up that part, I wanted into the Jeep.
         

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    My first time on Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, and Bill Moore. Afternoon showers didn't diminish our fun. The Empire Hilton was cool, but a bit scary. Thank you Trent, Shane and Taylor!
              

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    There used to by an icon that said this thread is useless without pictures. We need a new one that says this thread is useless without winching pictures.

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    The hiltons been just like that for 40 years. I was first there in 1980.
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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    I don't have any pictures but I do have a picture of Gerald'd beastly rig and the spot where I winched making his 40" tires not look quite so large. It was impressive to watch everyone else go up it. Doesn't look steep in the pictures of course but it was so steep and slick that it was quite tricky to walk on.
         

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    Tom previously posted:
    "There used to by an icon that said this thread is useless without pictures."

    (hit the "more" button and squint at the results)


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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    speedkills previously posted:
    "After Trent worked his Jeep up this section his kids wanted out of the Jeep. Strangely, after watching how he drove up that part, I wanted into the Jeep."

    I think the photo of Taylor in a prior post may be from this same spot. It's interesting to see the difference in front axle flex between Taylor's rig and mine here. He was running the trail with the front sway bar connected, while I was disconnected.

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    Really fun day out. Thank you everyone for the spotting and the help! Trail was good fun, a bit challenging, but manageable. Running both swaybars connected, with open diffs, stock sahara axles and 3.21 gears on 35's made it pretty challenging for traction. Gotta get my swap in axles finished. Ended up airing down to 20 PSI (Thanks Gerald for letting me borrow the compressor).

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    Sway bars connected while on a trail? Only 2 reasons I can think of for doing that, trying to get stuck and trying to bend parts.
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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    It's making me want to go through the effort of disconnecting mine before the Utah trip in September. It's not a 10 minute job like on a jeep but I'm thinking it will be worth it to just leave them off the whole week.

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    If you can disconnect them away from home, it might be best to do so Sunday night. I think rimrocker is easy enough not to need it, and there are a lot of highway miles to get to rimrocker.

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Empire Loop, Bill Moore Lake July 26



    Looks like it was a lot of fun. Sorry I missed it, hadn't logged on in a while. When I saw it yesterday all I could say was damn.
    ___________
    ||||||| "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

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